The Mohawk High football team had opportunities last night.
The Warriors weren't able to cash in, though, and it proved costly.
Mohawk committed two costly turnovers and had four drives reach New Brighton territory that produced zero points in a 28-7 Midwestern Athletic Conference home loss.
"We had too many opportunities in this game that we didn't take advantage of," Warriors coach Tim McCutcheon said. "This conference is tight and the teams are tough. New Brighton is the favorite right now on paper. We thought we had a shot at them, but we didn't execute."
Mohawk (0-1 conference, 0-2 overall) trailed 21-7 at the end of the third quarter with the ball on the Lions' 11. Warriors running back Vincent Argiro fumbled on the first play of the final frame, though, and New Brighton pounced on the ball to turn the hosts away.
"We had the ball there in the red zone to start the fourth quarter," McCutcheon said. "That would have brought us within one touchdown to start the fourth quarter with all the momentum in the world on our side.
"We thought at that point we would have them second-guessing themselves. Unfortunately, we were unable to finish."
Three plays later, on third-and-9 from its 15, New Brighton quarterback Jackson Hall hit Jake Francona with a pass right at the first-down marker. But Francona shook off the tackle and dashed down the right sideline for an 85-yard score to put the game away.
Mohawk did manage to move the ball right back down the field on the Lions. The Warriors marched 35 yards in seven plays. But on the eighth play, quarterback Marc Conti was intercepted at the New Brighton 27 to end the hosts final threat.
The Warriors, who tallied 116 total yards in a 21-0 Week Zero loss to Laurel, mustered 175 total yards in the loss to New Brighton. All but three of those yards came on the ground.
"It's hard to tell if we improved," McCutcheon said. "We were too inconsistent for me to make that statement. We do a few things well and then we were just unable to execute at times.
"We're not going to use youth as an excuse anymore. It's Friday night and they're out under the lights. Some of them will have to grow up quick and we have to coach them better."
Despite the defense giving up 28 points, the defense helped keep Mohawk in the game. The Warriors trailed 14-7 at the half. But they came away with a goal line interception on the final play of the first half by Jordan Mollenkopf. Mollenkopf got loose on the sideline and nearly broke it for a score. He was finally corralled near midfield.
"I don't feel good about our defense," McCutcheon said. "We loved the defensive stand at the end of the first half. We kept it within one touchdown and we were feeling pretty good about that because we knew we made a lot of mistakes in the first half."
Argiro led Mohawk with 91 yards rushing on 21 carries. Brian Cline scored the Warriors' only touchdown on a five-yard run in the first quarter. Dylan Lloyd's extra point put the hosts up 7-0 with 5:35 to go.
Mohawk returns to action at 7 p.m. Friday when it travels to MAC rival Neshannock (1-0, 1-1).
"It gets no easier," McCutcheon said. "This is the MAC, you don't have too much time to either feel good or feel bad about the current week.
"We have to watch the tape, find out what we can improve on and get ready for the next week. There's no easy wins in this conference, that's for sure."
NEW BRIGHTON AT MOHAWK
NEW BRIGHTON 14 0 7 7 —28
MOHAWK 7 0 0 0 — 7
MOHAWK — Brian Cline, 5-yard run (Dylan Lloyd kick).
NEW BRIGHTON — Jake Francona, 90-yard pass from Jackson Hall (Gabe Haddox kick).
NEW BRIGHTON — Mandel Irving, 48-yard pass from Hall (Haddox kick).
NEW BRIGHTON — Nyasanu Greene, 1-yard run (Haddox kick).
NEW BRIGHTON — Francona, 85-yard pass from Hall (Haddox kick).